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EKU Opens 2017-18 Season at Rice - LEX18.com | Continuous News and StormTracker Weather

EKU Opens 2017-18 Season at Rice

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The Eastern Kentucky University men’s basketball team will open the 2017-18 season at Rice on Friday night. Tipoff from Tudor Fieldhouse is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. ET.

WHAT TO KNOW

  • EKU won its final two games of the 2016-17 regular season, including a 68-65 victory over eventual OVC Tournament champion Jacksonville State on February 23.
  • The Colonels return five of their top six scorers from last season, including Preseason All-OVC selections Nick Mayo (18.5 points-per-game) and Asante Gist (15.9 points-per-game).
  • Mayo has been named to the 2017-18 Karl Malone Award (top power forward in Division I basketball) and Lou Henson Award (top mid-major player in Division I basketball) Watch Lists this preseason.
  • In EKU’s season finale last year, Mayo became the first Colonel ever to reach 1,000 career points as a sophomore. The 6-9 forward from Oakland, Maine has scored in double figures in 34 consecutive games dating back to his freshman campaign.
  • Gist was one of only seven freshmen in the country to finish the 2016-17 regular season averaging more than 15.5 points and 3.5 assists-per-game. The guard from East Orange, New Jersey broke the EKU freshman scoring record with 494 points.
  • EKU has won five consecutive season openers, including a 97-87 victory over IUPUI last season; however, the Colonels have not won a true road season opener since a 73-66 victory at Dayton in 2004.
  • In its lone exhibition last Friday, EKU defeated NAIA Georgetown College, 91-69. Mayo led four Colonels in double figures with an 18/13 double-double.
  • EKU has been picked to finish fourth out of 12 teams in the OVC this season by league head coaches and sports information directors.

SCOUTING THE OPPONENT

  • Rice went 23-12 last year and advanced to the quarterfinals of the College Basketball Invitational (CBI).
  • The Owls’ top returner is junior guard Connor Cashaw, who averaged 8.0 points and 5.3 rebounds-per-game last season.
  • This is the first-ever matchup between EKU and Rice.

UP NEXT

The Colonels fly to Oxford, Mississippi to face Ole Miss on Monday evening, November 13. Tipoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. ET.

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